Six Things to Rember When You’re Planning Your Goodbyes
Part of moving is ending one chapter and starting a new one. There’s the logistics of closing accounts and wrapping up loose ends, but there’s also the emotional reality that you will be physically separated from people and places who have come to play a role in your life. You might feel this even if your move is local. Whether it’s members of your family or close friends that have come to feel like family, navigating transition in your relationships can bring up a lot of different emotions—from sadness, to loneliness and anxiety.
You might be worried that your physical separation will lead to emotional distance as well. If you’re feeling this way, don’t forget to consider how your children might be feeling about their friendships and relationships.
The loss of connection might feel overwhelming at first, but with time, you will stay connected to the people that mean the most to you, if you make it a priority. Creating a sense of closure and knowing what to expect will make moving on a little less painful.
To make sure that you don’t miss anyone or anyplace make a list. Make four columns and title as follows: In person/individual; In person/group; Note/email; and Visit/Place. Then write down every person and place that you and your family would like to say goodbye to. Slot them into the column that makes the most sense for them. If you can, prioritize the list by making a star next to the names where you simply cannot skip a goodbye under any circumstance. This will help you keep track of the people that you want to connect with before your move.
To help you brainstorm your list of people that you might want to touch base with before you leave your current home, here are a few categories to get you started.
- Family and friends—yours and your children’s
- Work—current and old positions
- Schools—current and old teachers, administrators, friends, and coaches
- Church/Place of Worship—religious leaders, friends, and teachers
- Neighborhood—immediate neighbors, friends, barber, hairstylist, shop and restaurant owners
- Community organizations—sports teams and leagues, dance schools, extracurricular instructors and coaches, and music teachers
- Favorite places—parks, restaurants, and museums
2. Be realistic.
In the last weeks before your move you will be very busy. You might have the best intentions to write your good friends special notes or go out to lunch at your favorite restaurant, but as the days tick by, it’s obvious that you’re not going to fit in every special detail you had hoped (you can’t imagine taking two hours away from packing). That’s where your prioritized list comes in handy. Do what you can, but at some point you’ll have to let the rest go. You can always send special notes or thoughtful gifts after the move.
3. Realize it’s not always about you.
Saying goodbye is not necessarily about you or what you want. Be prepared for people to have their own ideas about what goodbye might look like. They are the ones staying behind, and you are the one moving on to new things. Like a lot of major life events, you may be in the starring role, but the supporting cast has a lot of say in how the production is handled. You might not be a big party person, but your family and friends may want to throw you a party. Even if you don’t care about being recognized in your church, your community might think it’s important. Just be prepared for other people’s ideas of goodbye to trump your own. If you’ve experienced this in other areas of your life, like marriage or becoming a parent, it’s bound to come up again if you’re dealing with the same cast of characters.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, just have one big event. Take care of all your goodbyes at once.
5. Don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep.
Embrace the phrase, “We’ll see.” You’ll have a lot of people asking about visits, getting together, or reunions. Do yourself a favor and keep expectations low. It’s easier to exceed expectations than to back out of a plan. Don’t tell your kids that they will see anyone specific after the move unless there is a solid date or event in place that you are one hundred percent sure you will be attending.
There are dozens of moving check lists out there, but sometimes you need more than a check list.
With Good Move, you can mindfully design a move for your family that overcomes the uncertainty, the overwhelm, and the unfamiliar that moving brings. You get:
Strategy for designing a move that works for your family
The real experiences of families that have relocated
Practical insight into the physical and emotional transitions you’re facing
The assurance that you’re well-informed and prepared
Good Move is available in paperback and ebook at…
When Kaly doesn’t have her nose in a book, she wrangles and referees two elementary age boys and blogs about her humorous efforts to lead a mindful, connected life. She’s the author of Good Move: Strategy and Advice for Your Family’s Relocation, a book about the craziness of moving with kids. Her writing has been featured on sites such as Mamalode, The Mid, In The Powder Room, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Scary Mommy to name a few. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.